Missouri becomes last state to create drug monitoring program

ST. LOUIS — Missouri is no longer the only state in the country without a prescription drug monitoring program. Governor Greitens signed an executive order establishing the program statewide.

At one point, Greitens got emotional, remembering his cousin who died of a heroin overdose last year. The ceremony took place at the Express Scripts Innovation and Technology Center in north county.

Greitens calls opioids a “modern plague” and says Missouri`s program is groundbreaking. Greitens says the state Department of Health and Senior Services is teaming up with private companies including Express Scripts to target those who are making the opioid problem worse by the way they are prescribing pills.

“When we have a small number of bad actors who’ve been prescribing more pills than they should we need to take action. And there are individuals out there who prey on addicts, who pump out prescriptions for pills that they know could cost lives. But before today they were unseen and unknown. We need to find them and shut them down,” explained Greitens.

State officials have also reached out to other companies including United Healthcare and CVS to take part in the program. The program should be up and running next month and will cost about $625,000.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger issued this statement in Response to Governor Greitens’ Announcement: “The Governor’s announcement serves as a reminder that, when legislators in Jefferson City proved unable to pass a prescription drug monitoring program, St. Louis County confronted the crisis head-on. In 2016, we established Missouri’s first PDMP to battle opioid abuse and soaring overdose deaths. Since then, other counties, representing 58 percent of Missouri’s population, have joined St. Louis County’s fully functional PDMP. And more counties are joining our program every day. In the meantime, we will continue to operate our successful program with the hope that whatever the governor proposes does nothing to hinder our progress.”